Rover

Nurse! will you close the window tight?
The air is bleak;
I cannot bear its breath to-night,
I am too weak.

You think that I am worse, dear one?
Just now you cried;
Your tears mean that before the dawn
I will have died.

How long you've lived! your hair of snow
Tells that you've seen
Some three-score years, but I must go
At seventeen.

So well you've loved and tended me
Through life's short way,
From my first early infancy,
To this sad day!

Ah, how the dark pines sigh! I think
They almost know,
That I am near the river's brink,
And soon must go.

I do not like their mournful song,
Nor do I care,
That they are crowns for all the throng
Of mountains there.

Grey are their rugged peaks, and high;
I only see
The monotone of deep blue sky,
The wild fir tree.

The north is closed with jagged crest,
The east akin
The same stern guards on south and west
Have shut me in.

Oh, for my home, fanned by the air
From off the bay!
I'd give a lifetime to be there
On my last day;

To see for miles along the shore
The shimmering sand;
To watch the pretty yachts once more
Come into land;

To hear the hearty sailors sing
Their gay good-night;
To watch for leagues the sea-gull's wing
In homeward flight;

To see the light-house white and tall,
Still and remote;
To hear the brown sandpiper call
His weird, low note;

To feel the world was wide and gay,
And heaven as near,
As when I sailed the crescent bay
This time last year.

A message home from me, you say?
Yes, they must know
How I have thought of them to-day,
And loved them so!

Tell them " goodbye," and give them this
Wee mountain-flower,
And say I sent it with a kiss
In my last hour.

But there's one friend that I must leave
With fond regret;
I only know how he would grieve —
My spaniel pet.

My poor brown dog! how he will miss
My whistle shrill;
He'll wonder where his mistress is,
Or why so still.

And when he sees you at the gate,
At home once more,
He'll bark for me and sweetly wait
Beside the door.

I will not speak or pat his head;
And he alone
Can't understand that I am dead
When I go home.

So when in splendor I am laid
In stately gloom,
Where stars and flower crosses fade
In snow-white bloom;

When all the lighted candles blend
With shadows cast,
Bring Rover in — my best-loved friend —
To look his last.

Then take him in your arms of snow,
His future place,
And lift him up — perhaps he'll know
My poor dead face.

No voice, no step, no greetings kind,
No laughing eyes,
No clue that his dumb, wondering mind
Can recognize.

But a year hence, when sorrow's flame
Has ceased to burn,
My dog will watch and wait in vain
For my return.
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